Anyone searching for a primer on how to spot clever phishing links need look no further than those targeting customers of Apple, whose brand by many measures remains among the most-targeted. Past stories here have examined how scammers working with organized gangs try to phish iCloud credentials from Apple customers who have a mobile device that is lost or stolen. Today’s piece looks at the well-crafted links used in some of these lures.
KrebsOnSecurity heard from a reader in South Africa who recently received a text message stating his lost iPhone X had been found. The message addressed him by name and said he could view the location of his wayward device by visiting the link https://maps-icloud[.]com — which is most definitely not a legitimate Apple or iCloud link and is one of countless spoofing Apple’s “Find My” service for locating lost Apple devices.
While maps-icloud[.]com is not a particularly convincing phishing domain, a review of the Russian server where that domain is hosted reveals a slew of far more persuasive links spoofing Apple’s brand. Almost all of these include encryption certificates (start with “https://) and begin with the subdomains “apple.” or “icloud.” followed by a domain name starting with “com-“.
Here are just a few examples (the phishing links in this post have been hobbled with brackets to keep them from being clickable):
Savvy readers here no doubt already know this, but to find the true domain referenced in a link, look to the right of “http(s)://” until you encounter the first forward slash (/). The domain directly to the left of that first slash is the true destination; anything that precedes the second dot to the left of that first slash is a subdomain and should be ignored for the purposes of determining the true domain name.
For instance, in the case of the imaginary link below, example.com is the true destination, not apple.com:
Of course, any domain can be used as a redirect to any other domain. Case in point: Targets of the phishing domains above who are undecided on whether the link refers to a legitimate Apple site might seek to load the base domain into a Web browser (minus the customization in the remainder of the link after the first forward slash). To assuage such concerns, the phishers in this case will forward anyone visiting those base domains to Apple’s legitimate iCloud login page (icloud.com).
The best advice to sidestep phishing scams is to avoid clicking on links that arrive unbidden in emails, text messages and other mediums. Most phishing scams invoke a temporal element that warns of dire consequences should you fail to respond or act quickly. If you’re unsure whether the message is legitimate, take a deep breath and visit the site or service in question manually — ideally, using a browser bookmark so as to avoid potential typosquatting sites.
Tags: Apple phishing
The Sneaky Simple Malware That Hits Millions of Macs
The popular misconception that Macs don’t get viruses has become a lot less popular in recent years, as Apple devices have weathered their fair share of bugs. But it’s still surprising that the most prolific malware on macOS—by one count, affecting one in 10 devices—is so relatively crude.
This week, antivirus company Kaspersky detailed the 10 most common threats its macOS users encountered in 2019. At the top of the list: the Shlayer Trojan, which hit 10 percent of all of the Macs Kaspersky monitors, and accounted for nearly a third of detections overall. It’s led the pack since it first arrived in February 2018.
You’d think that such prevalence could only be achieved by comparable sophistication. Not so! “From a technical viewpoint Shlayer is a rather ordinary piece of malware,” Kaspersky wrote in its analysis. In fact, it relies on some of the oldest tricks in the books: convincing people to click on a bad link, then pushing a fake Adobe Flash update. Even the trojan’s payload turns out to be ho-hum: garden variety adware.
Shlayer’s brilliance, it turns out, lies less in its code than its method of distribution. The operators behind the trojan reportedly offer website owners, YouTubers, and Wikipedia editors a cut if they push visitors toward a malicious download. A complicit domain might prompt a phony Flash download, while a shortened or masked link in a YouTube video’s description or Wikipedia footnote might initiate the same. Kaspersky says it counted more than 1,000 partner sites distributing Shlayer. One individual, Kaspersky says, currently owns 700 domains that redirect to Shlayer download landing pages.
“Distribution is a vital part of any malware campaign, and Shlayer shows that affiliate networks are pretty effective in this sense,” says Vladimir Kuskov, head of advanced threat research and software classification at Kaspersky.
While Shlayer is simple, the adware it installs—a wide variety, since Shlayer itself is just a delivery mechanism—can deploy at least a modestly clever trick or two. In an instance of Cimpli adware that Kaspersky observed, the malware first poses as another program, in this case Any Search. In the background, Cimpli attempts to install a malicious Safari extension, and generates a fake “Installation Complete” notification window to cover up the macOS security notification that warns you against doing so. It tricks you, in other words, into granting permission to let it run amok on your device.
Once you do, the attacker can both intercept your search queries and seed the results with their own ads. It’s an annoyance, more than anything. But given that over 100 million people use macOS, and it hits at least 10 percent of those with Kaspersky installed, it’s reasonable to assume that millions of Mac users deal with it every year. Even if only a small percentage of those attempts prove successful, it’s apparently enough to keep the operation going.
“Apple does a great job making their OS more and more secure with every new release,” says Kuskov. “But it is hard to prevent such attacks on the OS level, since it's the user who clicks on a link and downloads Shlayer and runs it, like any other software.”
While Flash might seem like an outdated lure, given the numerous public warnings about its fallibility and the fact that it’s dying off completely this year anyway, it’s actually perversely effective.
“I think the reason why fake Flash Players are so successful, in spite of these facts, is twofold,” says Joshua Long, chief security analyst at Intego, which first discovered Shlayer nearly two years ago. “Force of habit, and lack of awareness of the current state of Flash.”
To the first point, people have been so accustomed to serious Flash vulnerabilities that they’re conditioned to update ASAP to avoid calamity. As for the second, Long says, “the average consumer has no idea that Flash is rarely used by modern sites, that Flash installers are no longer necessary, or that Flash is being terminated this year.”
None of which means Mac owners are especially susceptible. “The techniques used to deceive users to install Shlayer also work fine with users of any other platform and OS,” Kaspersky’s Kuskov says.
The best ways to protect yourself from Shlayer and other malware are similarly universal. Don’t click suspicious links, especially not surprise pop-up windows. Don’t install Flash in the year of our lord 2020, especially not from a site that’s promising a pirated livestream.
Interpol Arrests 3 Indonesian Credit Card Hackers for Magecart Attacks
The Indonesian National Police in a joint press conference with Interpol earlier today announced the arrest of three Magecart-style Indonesian hackers who had compromised hundreds of international e-commerce websites and stolen payment card details of their online shoppers.
Dubbed ‘Operation Night Fury,’ the investigation was led by Interpol’s ASEAN Cyber Capability Desk, a joint initiative by law enforcement agencies of Southeast Asian countries to combat cybercrime.
According to the press conference, all three accused (23, 26, and 35 years old) were arrested last year in December from Jakarta and Yogyakarta and charged with criminal laws related to the data theft, fraud, and unauthorized access.
Just like most of the other widespread Magecart attacks, the modus operandi behind this series of attacks also involved exploiting unpatched vulnerabilities in e-commerce websites powered by Magento and WordPress content management platforms.
Hackers then secretly implanted digital credit card skimming code—also known as web skimming or JS sniffers—on those compromised websites to intercept users’ inputs in real-time and steal their payment card numbers, names, addresses and login details as well.
Though Indonesian police claim these hackers had compromised 12 e-commerce websites, experts at cybersecurity firm Sanguine Security believe the same group is behind the credit card theft at more than 571 online stores.
“These hacks could be attributed because of an odd message that was left in all of the skimming code,” Sanguine Security said.
“‘Success gan’ translates to ‘Success bro’ in Indonesian and has been present for years on all of their skimming infrastructures.’
The police revealed that the suspects used stolen credit cards to buy electronic goods and other luxury items, and then also attempted to resell some of them at a relatively low price through local e-commerce websites in Indonesia.
On an Indonesian news channel, one of the accused even admitted to hacking e-commerce websites and injecting web skimmers since 2017.
Moreover, experts also observed similar cyberattacks linked to the same online infrastructure even after the arrest of three people, and thus believes that there are more members of this hacking group who are still at large.
Critical vulnerabilities found in GE medical gear
The DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has issued a warning of six critical-rated vulnerabilities in several GE medical monitoring devices.
Advisory ICSMA-20-023-01 covers the GE CARESCAPE Telemetry Server, ApexPro Telemetry Server, CARESCAPE Central Station (CSCS) and Clinical Information Center (CIC) systems, CARESCAPE B450, B650, B850 monitors. The vulnerabilities include unprotected storage of credentials, improper input validation, use of hard-coded credentials, missing authentication for critical function, unrestricted upload of file with dangerous type and inadequate encryption strength.
As of now GE said it was not aware of any reported incidences of a cyberattack in a clinical use or any reported injuries associated with any of these vulnerabilities.
- CVE-2020-6961, critical, a
vulnerability that exists in the affected products that could allow an attacker
to obtain access to the SSH private key in configuration files.;
- CVE-2020-6962, critical, is an input
validation vulnerability in the web-based system configuration utility that
could allow an attacker to obtain arbitrary remote code execution;
- CVE-2020-6963, critical, where the
affected products utilize hard-coded SMB credentials, which may allow an
attacker to remotely execute arbitrary code if exploited;
- CVE-2020-6964, critical, where the
integrated service for keyboard switching of the affected devices could allow attackers
to obtain remote keyboard input access without authentication over the network;
- CVE-2020-6965, critical, is a a
vulnerability in the software update mechanism allows an authenticated attacker
to upload arbitrary files on the system through a crafted update package;
- CVE-2020-6966, critical, the affected
products utilize a weak encryption scheme for remote desktop control, which may
allow an attacker to obtain remote code execution of devices on the network.
GE is in the
process of developing and releasing patches for these issues. In the meantime,
the company recommends:
- The MC and IX Networks are isolated
and if connectivity is needed outside the MC and/or IX Networks, a router/firewall
- MC and IX Router/Firewall should be
set up to block all incoming traffic initiated from outside the network, with
exceptions for needed clinical data flows.
- Restricted physical access to central
stations, telemetry servers, and the MC and IX networks. Default passwords for
Webmin should be changed as recommended.
- Password management best practices
- The best way to stamp out
vulnerabilities is to find them as soon as possible by using a secure
development life cycle (SDLC). At every stage of product development,
vulnerabilities are identified and eradicated.
there are upcoming patches and temporary workarounds Jonathan Knudsen, senior
security strategist with Synopsys, noted such vulnerabilities should be
discovered during the development phase and not after they have been released.
design phase, this takes the form of using threat modeling and other techniques
to identify design vulnerabilities and the security controls that are necessary
to reduce the risk of the system,” he said.
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